KOLKATA (Metro Rail News): Metro Railway has written to the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) to extend its November 30 deadline by three months for unveiling East-West Metro’s Salt Lake stretch. Last Thursday, Metro Railway authorities wrote to the chief commissioner of railway safety, Shailesh Kumar Pathak, urging the commission to extend the validation period beyond November 30 since it was clear that the truncated commercial services can’t start by Saturday.
On Friday, Union minister Babul Supriyo had told the media that he had had a word with the Railway Board on the issue and was told: “there won’t be any problem in extending the clearance for a few days.” Metro Railway officials said they, too, believed the CRS would extend the validation period to accommodate a December launch.
But another section wondered if this was possible since the CRS functioned under a different ministry. On July 22, Pathak had inspected the 5km elevated Sector V-Salt Lake Stadium stretch and on August 2, he issued the conditional safety nod and wrote, “Public carriage of passengers on this line should be introduced by 30.11.2019, otherwise Metro Railway administration shall have to approach the commission for revalidation of this section.”
Although the East-West Metro project is being implemented by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), operations will be handled by Metro Railway, which runs the north-south section and which has been conducting a series of pre-commissioning trials for nearly two months. Even on Monday, a one-day preparedness trial was held and senior officials from various operation-related departments of Metro Railway, including principal chief operations manager Satyaki Nath, inspected the section.
On October 31, during the second round of service trials, the officials had conducted similar inspections and expressed satisfaction with the result. However, Suneet Sharma, Eastern Railway’s general manager who is also officiating as GM, Metro Railway, ordered a 10-day “failure drill” from November 8.
“The section has been going through one trial after another and now we will be missing the CRS’ deadline,” said an official. Most new Metro lines are unveiled a fortnight to the CRS deadline. But in East-West Metro’s case, there’s no time for formalities, like compiling a report and intimating the Railway Board and the CRS about the preparedness, following which a notification is issued by the Railway Board.